Saturday, April 08, 2006

Small Hiatus

Off to Phoenix for a few days for Aunt Helen's memorial service. Will return Wednesday!
Varsity Theater Reopens

Mishka's independent film cinema just had its Grand Opening in Davis:
Culture vultures can now watch first-run independent movies in Davis, as the city-owned Varsity Theatre was reopened Thursday night as an elegant venue for "indie" films.

... "It will satisfy a major craving in Davis," said Sinisa Novakovic, who with business partner Jon Fenske launched the venture in the historic theater at 616 Second St. in Davis' downtown.

... "Downtown Davis has been transformed over the last two years, and this is our crown jewel," said Mayor Pro Tem Sue Greenwald, referring to the city's many new restaurants and other businesses.

... Before the main movie Thursday, moviegoers watched a brief documentary on the Varsity's history by a young British filmmaker who lives in Davis.

"It's an iconic building in Davis," said filmmaker Liam Creighton. "Nothing in town looks like this."

... In 1990, the first of two multiplex theaters was opened in Davis. It was owned by Signature Theatres, which also owned the Varsity by that time. The company moved to close the smaller Varsity. The city eventually purchased the Varsity and operated it as a venue for live performances, lectures and other events. But it still struggled financially.

When the Davis Musical Theatre Company - one of the primary tenants at the Varsity - opened its own theater, the city entertained proposals for other ventures that could operate from the venerable theater. Novakovic and Fenske won out with their idea to open an indie film venue.

Novakovic runs a popular café called Mishka's a block from the Varsity. Fenske is an engineer. Novakovic said he hopes to move Mishka's adjacent to the theater and to open a gelato store called Icekrimski on the other side.

The two men are leasing the building from the city and spent about $120,000 for improvements. The city also contributed about $85,000 in renovations.

Improvements include plush seats, surround sound stereo, a concessions stand, carpet and a movie screen on a movable platform. The venue will be available for lease to community groups.
I have mixed feelings about all this. I'm happy for the new tenants, and hope they do well. I'm wistful and bitter about the way Davis Musical Theatre Company was muscled out of the place. And I'm worried, because, gauging from the thin crowds at the Crest and Tower Theaters in Sacramento, an indie film venture won't be that profitable either, so it's only a matter of time before the City of Davis tires of the new tenants and muscles them out too.

Perhaps by coupling the two food-service stores together with their weaker cinematic sister, they can all make a game effort at profitability. Or sink altogether - only time will tell.

What is different, this time, is that I understand the City finally went ahead and purchased the building outright, and finally got out from under the insane lease requirements that made the place particularly unprofitable for the City. They should have done that in the early 90's! Perhaps DMTC wouldn't have been so badly menaced had that process been started 15 years ago.

In any event, the best of luck and good fortune to Novakovic and Fenske!
Levees Endangered

Waters rising on the San Joaquin River.

But all the obsessive-compulsive, forget-nothing, forgive-nothing Republicans in Congress can talk about is building the oft-rejected (and soon to be rejected again) Auburn Dam.

I wonder if levee-maintenance funds are so hard to come by because they are deliberately-sabotaging Sacramento River levees in order to get approval for their Dam?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Were-Rabbit of Mouldshaugh Lane

Cloudy denies all:
Martial law has been declared on a Northumberland allotment after a series of devastating nocturnal raids by a freakishly large and hungry rabbit.

...The predator, which has been nicknamed the were-rabbit because of its similarity to the hungry bunny in the recent Wallace and Gromit film, is described as being black and brown and much bigger than either a hare or a rabbit. One of its ears is also said to be noticeably large than the other.
Which, of course, reminds me:
Tim: There he is!
King Arthur: Where?
Tim: There!
King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
King Arthur: You silly sod!
Tim: What?
King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Sir Galahad: Get stuffed!
Tim: He'll do you up a treat, mate.
Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?
Sir Robin: You mangy Scots git!
Tim: I'm warning you!
Sir Robin: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
Tim: He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!
King Arthur: Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!
Sir Bors: Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin' right up!

[after Bors is killed by the killer rabbit]
Tim: I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it?
"None Dare Call It Treason" - So I Will

The revelation that President Bush directly ordered the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity to the press is the logical end-point of the Plame scandal. There was always the mark of a hit job behind her exposure as an undercover agent. The argument that the President can reveal classified information on his own whim is absurd - the right of Kings, not servants of the People. The President takes an Oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. Revealing the identity of secret agents of the U.S. government violates that Oath, can cost the agents their lives, and hence is a crime.

The President committed Treason. No escape from that conclusion. He must resign, or be impeached.
Glancing Blow

I was driving my car, the HMS Titanic, to work this morning. I was in the left lane, heading north on one-way 21st Street.

Ahead, two slightly-confused high school students from Roseville, driving their vehicle, the North Atlantic Iceberg, decided to turn left onto K Street from the middle lane of 21st Street, directly across my path.

All women and children were safely evacuated from my vehicle, but aside from some scratched paint, it looks like little harm resulted.
Helen Rebecca Buzzell

October 6, 1906 - April 6, 2006. Rest in Peace. Made it as far as ninety-nine and a half years! We will miss her wry wit, independent spirit, and globetrotting passion!

Detail of a memory box hanging on her wall. Aunt Helen (left) and my mother Marjorie look over the railing of a ferry, many years ago.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Dream Coat Productions

Here is a worthy DMTC-affiliated group to follow:
Dream Coat Productions Presents:

“Welcome To My World”

A group of 12 actors ages 13-17 perform scenes and monologues directed by Jessica Greenstreet. The teens tackle subjects such as bullying, peer pressure, teen suicide, and fitting in. Their fearless honesty reveals the complexity of their lives and shines light and understanding on their difficulties. Parental discussion is advised. Show times are Friday, April 7, 2006 at 7:30pm and Saturday, April 8, 2006 at 7:30pm at the Hoblit Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $4.00 and can be purchased at the door.
I sure Jessica and the rest of the group will do just fine. They are a talented bunch!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Aspartame A-OK

At least for now, which is good, because I'm basically pickled in aspartame:
No increased risk was seen even among people who gulped down many artificially sweetened drinks a day, said researchers who studied the diets of more than half a million older Americans.
I wonder if aspartame prevents cancer? Now that would be cool!
Unexpected Pyramid

But then, the entire Valley of Mexico is one big archaeological gold mine:
Archeologists said Wednesday they have discovered a massive 6th-century Indian pyramid beneath the site of a centuries-old re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ.

... "Both the pre-Hispanic structure and the Holy Week rituals are part of our cultural legacy, so we have to look for a way to protect both cultural values," said Sanchez, who, along with archaeologist Miriam Advincula, has been exploring the site since 2004.

Mexico abounds with cases in which Spanish conquerors literally built their Catholic faith atop the remains of older religions.

... But the case of Iztapalapa hillside, known as the Hill of the Star, appears to be mere geographical coincidence, Sanchez said.

... The archaeological site is not safe from the sprawl of the modern megalopolis and its 19 million inhabitants. Archeologists found that part of the temple had been destroyed by unauthorized home building on the hillside just 15 years ago.

"All of the hillsides in the Valley of Mexico have archaeological remains, and all of them urgently need to be protected," Sanchez said.
Even Parody Religions Don't Quite Suit

Just when things seem happy and light, The Flying Spaghetti Monster decides something or other needs to get sacrificed, or incense needs lighting, or a gauntlet needs to be run, or - something!
Watch What You Sing

Some songs just seem suspicious:
British anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said Wednesday.

...The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem "London Calling," which features the lyrics "Now war is declared -- and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected."
So, just what are these words?
london calling to the far away towns
now war is declared and battle come down
london calling to the under world
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning-and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out-and draw another breath
London calling-and I don't wanna shout
But while we were talking-I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no highs
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

[Chorus x2]

the ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
engins are stoppin the wheat is growing thin
nuclear error but i have no fear
london is drowing and i live by the river

Now get this
London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?

I never felt so much a' like
So, Who's Responsible?

So, how much responsibility should Forrest C. Mims III take for the death threats now hounding Eric Pianka for his population control opinions? That has always been the problem when thugs take control over political debate. How much blame should the instigator take, even if the instigator wasn't directly involved at all? There have also been reports that random, mostly-uninvolved scientists in the Texas Academy of Sciences are getting harrassing phone calls and even that the Department of Homeland Security was contacted regarding the 'threat' Pianka poses.

Orwell always believed that the instigators of harrassment often know far more than they let on regarding what other people do in their name. Mims has some explaining to do. If not, all's fair, and there's no reason he can't suffer in return.

They say that you should eat a toad the first thing in the morning, because the rest of the day will be downhill from there. Here's a guy who pretty much did exactly that.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


(Left to right) Rangel, Kashi, me, Justin, and Persia, at Ernesto's.

Kashi just got picked for a ranger-type position at Malakoff Diggins State Park. And Persia, of course, bears Little Eva.

Kashi brandishes Persia and Justin's gift - a knife. Now when confronting a mountain lion high on the North San Juan Ridge, Kashi can say:
Who am I? I am... I am the Invincible Sword Goddess, armed with the incredible Green Destiny. Be you Li or Southern Crane, lower your head and ask for mercy. I am the desert dragon. I leave no trace. Today I fly over Eu-Mei. Tomorrow... I'll kick over Wudan Mountain!
Dancing Is Not A Constitutional Right?

Say what? Since WHEN?:
The judge disagreed. He said dancing is not constitutionally protected expression and the city has the right to regulate circumstances under which eating and drinking places can let patrons dance.
Overdiligent Nudist

Thought he was doing a public service:
The 56-year-old Sydney man tried to kill what he thought was a funnel web spider by pouring petrol down the spider's burrow and igniting it with a match, the NRMA CareFlight service said.
Highway Closures

Highway 1 is closed due to slides: Highway 50 and some of the other Sierra Nevada roads may be the same.
So Hard To Concentrate Today...

Exploding transformers, flickering lights, and now, the Fire Department, just down the alley!
Numerical Harmonic Convergence - The Apocalypse Cometh

Noel is getting excited:
Sometime in the middle of the night tonight, there will be a unique (very unique!) sequence of numbers.

We will have 01:02:03 04/05/06

At 1:02 am (and 3 seconds), the universe (on Pacific Time) will either fall into a state of grace or become a fiery pit of hell (South Park's version, that is).

Then again, maybe nothing will happen since most of us will be asleep.
MikeMac is getting excited:
Hmmm... interesting. The last time this happened was 4/5/1906. Two days after that convergence, as you call it, Mount Vesuvius erupted and killed over 100 people and ejected the most recorded amount of lava in it's history.

Also, almost a fortnight later, in the wee hours of April 18, 1906, San Francisco was devastated by the infamous San Francisco Earthquake.

Disaster Approaches! Repent Now!
Chris isn't that excited yet:
Well two issues:

1) The Europeans won't get the disaster just about a month, because for them April 5, 2006 is just 5/4/6. They will have it on May 4, or 4/5/06.

2) Really it will be 04/05/2006, which isn't as interesting. I'll be more interested when 01:02:03 4/5/6789 happens. And if I'm still alive by then I'll be ready for the apocalypse.
MikeMac says getting excited is the American way:
Your points are appreciated, Chris, although as everyone knows, the "American way", is "the ONLY goddamned way to do things, and you'd better appreciate it or we'll pour napalm down your collective, ungrateful throats".
There's another American approach too. That's to take the warnings literally.

When the planets were going to line up in 1982, I had friends who moved to the hills, to Mountainair, N.M., as early as 1978, in order to avoid the massive tidal wave that would come up the Rio Grande Valley. Nice place, out there on the juniper-studded steppe. Plus, my friend had gone AWOL from Special Forces, so the hills seemed inviting as a place to lie low.

Only one problem with the hills. No jobs. Soon, they were hunting deer out-of-season, in order to keep themselves, and their bitty babies, alive. And then 1982 came - and went - and life went on. I don't know when they returned to the city - I think it was when the military caught up with my friend.

Anyway, it's nice to know the Apocalypse will strike the Americas first, giving the Europeans time to head to the Alps and shoot deer out-of-season.
Chris notes the Earth's rotation:
Well it will also strike by timezone, so use west coasters will have about a 3 hour warning to try and evacuate. I think I'll head to Florence.
MikeMac wonders about exactly what to expect:
Wouldn't it technically run across the surface of the Earth, like the Genesis Effect in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? Or would it actually go by timezone and suddenly gallumph onto a wide swath of the nation, like so many millions of huge elephants?
Noel looks forward to convivial times:
I'm a bit confused. Is this Apocalypse happening tonight during the harmonic convergence, or sometime in the future? And if it results in death and hell, and we'll probably all be together (well, I guess I should just speak for myself), what, me worry?
I suspect we'll have a little bit of warning. We'll hear a sound like cracking wood in the sky, and then it'll be just like 'To The Lifeboats', with even more people crowding onto the stage from the wings.

Sometimes my fellow scientists exasperate me with their literal-minded, boneheaded approach to just about everything:
Rare conditions could have conspired to create hard-to-see ice on the Sea of Galilee that a person could have walked on back when Jesus is said to have walked on water, a scientist said today.

The study, which examines a combination of favorable water and environmental conditions, proposes that Jesus could have walked on an isolated patch of floating ice on what is now known as Lake Kinneret in northern Israel.

Looking at temperature records of the Mediterranean Sea surface and using analytical ice and statistical models, scientists considered a small section of the cold freshwater surface of the lake. The area studied, about 10,000 square feet, was near salty springs that empty into it.
OK, lets be literal-minded too. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep your footing on a small, nearly-invisible block of floating ice? Not only must this Jesus dude have been something of a cold-weather fan, he must have been one great surfer too!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Beware The Power Of Wind!

It's stronger than you think! :
A 32-year-old San Diego man died after he stood up in a T-top sports car to cool off and was blown out of it on a Poway freeway, officials said Saturday.
So, Where's The Annual Report?

The Adminsistration is required, by Federal law, issue the annual Social Security actuarial report by April 1st. Not only is the report late, there is apparently no plan to issue a report at all. So - why?
Lashing Out

Success has a million parents: failure dies an orphan:
Paul Verhoeven, director of the first "Basic Instinct" (which scored $353 million worldwide) as well as the widely ridiculed "Showgirls" (now regarded as something of a camp classic), attributes the genre's demise to the current American political climate.

"Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States," said the Dutch native. "Look at the people at the top (of the government). We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends."
I haven't seen this movie, and I don't really want to, but I suspect it's a 'been there-done that' mentality. After all, what would it be about, that wasn't already done in the first version?

Strangely enough, in these 'American Idol' days, a reprise of "Showgirls," perhaps done from a different perspective, or with a varied story line, might do pretty well. I never understood what doomed the first version - the overacting didn't help, of course, and the trite story line, but it was done in such an overwrought manner that it couldn't help but find favor with someone. Nevertheless, Elizabeth Barkley's career was nearly destroyed by her starring role, just when it should have taken off. People sure are strange and fickle!
90% Of You Should Die

Forrest C. Mims III has got his knickers twisted in a knot, because a University of Texas professor Eric Pianka is indulging every environmentalist's favorite fantasy: if 90% of everyone died, a lot of our environmental problems would greatly ease. Apparently this professor is being unusually vocal, and Mims is worried he might have unusual sway over impressionable young minds.

Of course, the death of 9 out of 10 people is bound to be unpopular in society, in general, so I doubt the professor will have too much of a following. That is, unless you figure on being the 1 out of 10 who don't die. Young people, in particular, have trouble absorbing the concept of not being among the 1 out of 10.

I remember one soldier's reminisces of a pep talk given by his commander while crossing the Channel for the D-Day invasion in 1944. The commander dramatically explained that most of the people in the boat would likely die soon after landing. The soldier looked around at his fellow soldiers and thought 'you poor bastards' and never, really, absorbed the idea that the commander was talking about HIM. So, who knows, maybe Mims has a point. The young, in particular, sometimes feel nearly immortal.

Mims is an unusual fellow. He's a hands-on experimental scientist and model rocket enthusiast. I used to read his Model Rocketry column as a teenager (here is Mims' account of getting the bureaucrats out of the business of regulating Model Rocketry to death). Mims was also disinvited to be Scientific American's Amateur Scientist columnist because of his Creationist beliefs: an understandable, yet unfortunate episode of the scientific thought police in action. In general, he might be described, very loosely, as Red America's most talented tinkerer, and it's always interesting to read what he thinks (he now has a Web Site).

Meanwhile, I'll miss all of you once you all go........
Dolly Parton Quote

I don't know, I just liked it!:
You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!
Jon Zellhoefer, Candidate

Here's an entirely too-modest Jon Zellhoefer (candidate, 2003 California Recall Election) regarding his run for Assembly Seat, District 34. According to former candidate, Daniel Watts, the district leans Republican, so Jon might do better than many expect:
So why run?

"I really expected that (Maze) was not going to run," Zellhoefer said.

Like many, Zellhoefer expected Maze to run for state Sen. Roy Ashburn's seat when it looked as though Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, would run to replace retiring Rep. Bill Thomas in Congress.

But just before the election filing deadline, Ashburn said he wasn't going to enter the race for the House seat, opening the Republican field for Assembly Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

By that time, Zellhoefer had declared his candidacy for the Assembly seat and paid the $1,109 filing fee.
NAFTA and Illegal Immigration

A good argument can be put together that the great swell in illegal immigration we've seen lately is entirely a predictable response to trying to please business interests with NAFTA:
But the most striking aspect of the assault on undocumented immigrants is that it has no theory of causality. Over 40 percent of the Mexicans who have come, legally and illegally, to the United States have done so in the past 15 years. The boom in undocumenteds is even more concentrated than that: There were just 2.5 million such immigrants in the United States in 1995; fully 8 million have arrived since then.

Why? It's not because we've let down our guard at the border; to the contrary, the border is more militarized now than it's ever been. The answer is actually simpler than that. In large part, it's NAFTA.

... But NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, could not have been more precisely crafted to increase immigration -- chiefly because of its devastating effect on Mexican agriculture. As liberal economist Jeff Faux points out in "The Global Class War," his just-published indictment of the actual workings of the new economy, Mexico had been home to a poor agrarian sector for generations, which the government helped sustain through price supports on corn and beans. NAFTA, though, put those farmers in direct competition with incomparably more efficient U.S. agribusinesses. It proved to be no contest: From 1993 through 2002, at least 2 million Mexican farmers were driven off their land.

...So if Sensenbrenner wants to identify a responsible party for the immigration he so deplores, he might take a peek in the mirror. In the winter of '93, he voted for NAFTA. He helped establish a system that increased investment opportunities for major corporations and diminished the rights, power and, in many instances, living standards of workers on both sides of the border. Now he and his Republican colleagues are stirring the resentments of the same American workers they placed in jeopardy by supporting the corporate trade agenda.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Missile Fraud

In his book, "Weapons and Hope," Freeman Dyson maintained: first, that strategic missile defense was impossible to achieve, and second, that high-level fraud would be the inevitable result of trying to achieve the impossible. The pressures to lie would be too great for anyone to resist.

Here is an interesting story:
A senior Congressional investigator has accused his agency of covering up a scientific fraud among builders of a $26 billion system meant to shield the nation from nuclear attack. The disputed weapon is the centerpiece of the Bush administration's antimissile plan, which is expected to cost more than $250 billion over the next two decades.

The investigator, Subrata Ghoshroy of the Government Accountability Office, led technical analyses of a prototype warhead for the antimissile weapon in an 18-month study.... Mr. Ghoshroy now says his agency ignored evidence that the two main contractors had doctored data, skewed test results and made false statements in a 2002 report that credited the contractors with revealing the warhead's failings to the government.

The agency strongly denied his accusations, insisting that its antimissile report was impartial and that it was right to exonerate the contractors of a coverup.

The dispute is unusual. Rarely in the 85-year history of the G.A.O., an investigative arm of Congress with a reputation for nonpartisan accuracy, has a dissenter emerged publicly from its ranks.

And Mr. Ghoshroy's assertions raise new questions about the Boeing Company's military arm, the main contractor for the troubled $26 billion system of interceptor rockets now being installed in Alaska and California. The system's "kill vehicles" are to zoom into space and destroy enemy warheads by force of impact.

But years of test failures have thrown the program into disarray, and the military has recently begun to look for a kill vehicle of greater reliability.

...The dispute over its reliability began a decade ago. Nira Schwartz, a senior engineer in 1995 and 1996 at the military contractor TRW, told her superiors that the company had falsified research findings meant to help kill vehicles differentiate incoming warheads from clouds of decoys.

...Finally, the team learned of a meeting in late August 1997 at which contractor personnel had reportedly made complete oral disclosures. But no contractor or federal official could recall anything specific about this meeting — no date, place, agenda or list of attendees.

Mr. Ghoshroy came to believe that the meeting had never happened, he said. Even so, the G.A.O. report incorporated its claims. The report also noted the explanations that the contractors gave for excluding some experimental data.

...Today, the military calls the dispute irrelevant to national defense because the Boeing kill vehicle was rejected in favor of one made by Raytheon. The Raytheon model now tips the nation's antimissile interceptors.

But Mr. Ghoshroy says the issue matters greatly. Boeing may have lost the kill vehicle competition, but it won a bigger contest as the Pentagon in 1998 named it lead contractor for the whole antimissile project. Charges of corporate dishonesty, he said, threaten to undermine the program's overall credibility.

...For his part, Mr. Ghoshroy said he found it "totally amazing" that the G.A.O. refused to admit that its report misinformed Congress and the public. "I'm concerned," he said, "that there's no one out there to oversee the overseer."
Jobs No One Wants

"The Onion" body-slams illegal immigration:
In response to criticism over World Wrestling Entertainment hiring policies, World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon defended the league's reliance on Mexican wrestlers as "the only way fans can witness the grueling, bone-crunching maneuvers that American wrestlers want nothing to do with."

... "These masked luchadores are hard-working, energetic, and always willing to learn new skills that Americans consider beneath them—such as being power-bombed from the top turnbuckle or chokeslammed through the announcer's booth," said McMahon on this week's WWE Raw.

"The idea that these Mexicans are somehow stealing jobs from American wrestlers is ridiculous,"McMahon said. "After all, someone's got to take these folding chairs to the face." ...

It is not known exactly how many Mexican wrestlers are on the WWE payroll, since many lack Social Security numbers, or even clear and verifiable identities, as McMahon himself admitted Monday. "I know as much about these masked wrestlers as the fans do," McMahon said. "What's certain is, they often seem marvelous and mysterious, saintly, and even rude."
Dancing Through The Decades

(Left) Foxtrots and swings Saturday night at the Hoblit Performing Arts Center. My primary interest was seeing who turned out Saturday night, and why. Turnout was fairly low (as I expected it might be) for this first-ever experiment with utilizing the Theater's downtime for best advantage: money-wise, facility-wise, community-wise, otherwise. Despite the turnout, I nevertheless met several new people, including Jackie, Tev's mom. It's interesting how different activities bring out a different crowd!

Advantage tonight seemed to belong to several Lindy Hop swing dancers who came out to dance. As DJ, Arthur did a good job of approximating the Top 40 of the 1940's (which reminded me just how many novelty songs and marches they used to have), but since the Lindy Hoppers have idiosyncratic tastes in dance music, in the future, if we aim to please, we might have to tailor the musical program to suit. The floor was a bit sticky - the dancers suggested talcum powder.

Of all the possible dance genres out there (ballroom, hip hop, folk, country, Lindy Hop, rancheros, Scottish, salsa), it seems to me that ballroom and Lindy Hop are most compatible with DMTC's mission to preserve and present Musical Theater. Indeed, with its syncopated rhythm, and devotion to the style of the 40's, the Lindy Hoppers are probably best suited of all.

In comparison, ballroom dance, as fun as it is, and as much as I like it, is somewhat denatured - the rhythms and style of swing and tango, among other dances, are altered to (not always the best) taste. For example, as far as I'm aware, the founder of the Nightclub Two-Step, Buddy Schwimmer, is still alive. Schwimmer put that dance together in 1976, to take advantage of the surfeit of weird, disco-derived schlock (e.g., Lionel Ritchie, among others) that made dance floors of the 70's so tedious (and I'm a huge fan of disco - I remember having to wait through all the rest of the musical program to get to the good stuff!)

We will be hosting another dance in early June, with a Fifties theme, and who knows who will turn out then, but tonight's turnout suggests to me that we aim at Lindy Hop dancers, who already patronize several nights at several venues in the Sacramento area. I don't know what people do these days in the Davis area, but several years ago, I know they used to patronize "The Grad" on Sunday evenings for swing dancing: perhaps they still do. If our venue was a predictable refuge for swing dancers, with scheduled, regular nights, we might build a good following of dancers quite compatible with the Theater's main aim of fostering musical theater.

In a way, we may be attempting to kill too many birds with one stone with the 'Dancing Through The Decades' fundraiser. Ideally, we want a fundraiser that:

1.) utilizes the facility;
2.) brings in lots of money; yet is,
3.) relatively trouble-free to manage.

In many ways, the Aioli Fundraiser was ideal for bringing in money, aimed as it was at those with disposable income (mostly the older folks), but it wasn't held at the facility. A dance uses the facility, but it's mostly an activity for the young, who have less money. People have different interests and different aims. So, we should accomodate the audience. We should worry less about fundraising in regards to the dances and worry more about making the dance night scheduling consistent, in order to build a loyal following.

Kid's Tile Wall going up at DMTC.

Here is a long-term project beginning to come to fruition: the Kid's Tile Wall! Many thanks to Jeni Price for her hard work on this project!